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Last minute sub calls... that describes my early life as a player. Shows, jazz groups of all sizes, convention events, cultural festivals, etc. Some of these turned in to semi-regular work. Sight reading required for all but the small group jazz gigs, and hotel wallpaper jobs.

Even in a working big (jazz) band, one with a regular gig, new charts come in all the time. One of the reasons to play in a band like that is to get experience with great arrangers and provide an experimental sketch pad for new arrangers. Having the lead trumpet player tell you, after a read down of your new chart, that "There is no reason to ever write a note higher than D" for a lead trumpet is very eye opening, to say nothing of ear opening.
Sounds like you should have gotten Maynard to read your chart.
 

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Big band sure is complicated for you guys. I just show up and play. If someone is in over their head or can't get their sh*t together, they usually drop out on their own. Same goes for those who are at a much higher level than the rest of the band. I can usually tell how it's going to go after reading the first chart. In our band, if you can swing, play in tune and read well enough to get it on the 2nd or 3rd try, you're in.

As future opportunities go, it's great if those bands can wait that long for you. But whenever I have a slot to fill in my band, I'm not that patient. I beat the bushes until I find someone.
 
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